MAFS ring to be auctioned off for child in need

Married at First Sight participant Dave McClelland gave his wedding ring to the Finch family to auction, in the hopes of raising enough money so Harry (3) can have surgery in America to help him walk. Photo: Supplied
Married at First Sight participant Dave McClelland gave his wedding ring to the Finch family to auction, in the hopes of raising enough money so Harry (3) can have surgery in America to help him walk. Photo: Supplied
A Dunedin man is hoping the final reminder of ‘‘what was not meant to be’’ can be used to help a child in need.

When Married at First Sight television show contestant Dave McClelland’s marriage to Julia Malley, of Christchurch, ended this year he was left with a 9-carat white gold wedding band.

The pair was matched by experts, agreed to marry when they first met and had to decide if they wanted to remain married by the end of the series. Rather than keep or sell the ring, Mr McClelland gave it to a Dunedin family hoping to raise $150,000 for surgery in the United States.

Three-year-old twins Harry and Ollie Finch were born prematurely at 29 weeks after having twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.

At 6 weeks old, Harry was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and will not be able to walk or stand independently.

He has been accepted for surgery in the United States, which will give him a better chance of walking on his own — but it comes with a $150,000 pricetag.

Mr McClelland played rugby with Harry’s dad, Hayden, years ago and offered to give them the ring to auction. ‘‘I think it’s [the ring] just the final reminder of what was not meant to be,’’ he said.

‘‘I just really felt that someone else could benefit from it.’’

Harry’s story had ‘‘tugged at his heartstrings’’.

Mr McClelland took the ring to the Finchs’ house on Monday night and met Harry.

‘‘He’s adorable. I’m a bit of a tough guy but stuff like that . . . I’d hate to think what they are going through.’’

Although the ring was worth about $1600, he was unsure how much could be raised from it.

‘‘If it’s marketed well and shared well with all of my followers, then it’s one of those things, who knows?

I think anything would help.’’

Harry’s mother, Bex, said they were overwhelmed by the gesture. ‘‘We couldn’t believe it.

‘‘It’s just the thought really that counts more than anything, and the fact that he would offer that to us.

‘‘He was trying to find the perfect charity to give to and for him to pick Harry is pretty cool.’’

Mr McClelland was enjoying life after the show, which had ‘‘opened the doors’’ to other ventures.

‘‘I am in a position where I am about to help a lot more people. ‘‘I think that’s really what I’d like to do with it.’’

He made ‘‘great friends’’ on the show, with whom he still keeps in touch. ‘‘It’s funny because the only person I don’t talk to is my wife,’’ he joked. ‘‘Ex-wife.’’

JESSICA.WILSON@thestar.co.nz

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